I cannot believe it is actually Sunday. This week has gone by so slowly; yet, at the same time so quickly. I have had all of my big projects for the semester due, two main papers and a presentation. Add that to the hunt for the apartment, swim practices, and hanging out with my new friends and I can easily say that it has been my craziest week thus far. Normally I like to highlight each thing in and of itself, but given how this week has gone I feel it is best to go day by day. So here we go, Kate’s week at a glance:
Monday night after practice I went to visit my first flat, although I liked it, it was not the flat for me. Partially because they wanted someone who was older and also because the room was not what I really wanted. I have been turned down from a bunch of flats just because they already have occupants and was slightly worried that I wouldn’t get one and so I called saying that I would take the flat. In hindsight, I am glad it did not work out and I learned what types of questions to ask when I went to visit other flats.
The most low key day of the week was Tuesday. Nothing too special happened other than two practices and I worked on perfecting my spanish in both of my papers that were due the following day. As study breaks I called different flats to try and get some more appointments for later in the week.
Wednesday, oh Wednesday. Generally called the Hump Day, and I must say it was quite a hump for me to overcome. I had to turn in two the huge papers, which I had spent the last month or so perfecting. In many ways turning in a paper is extremely hard because you can obsess over every single word choice, but in the end it must actually be turned in (and later you always find something obviously wrong with it). I found that having the extra time to work on my papers, (Christmas Break), gave me enough time to reflect on the arguments that I made and start to see my own frenzied spanish errors. I was also fortunate to have a little army of correctors, friends of mine here in Spain, who helped me learn how to make my spanish sound a little more natural. I have no pretensions that I still sound like an american writing spanish, but little by little I will get better, especially with their help.
I started Thursday bright and early with 6 am practice. After a quick nap I got ready and went to visit my first apartment of the day. The truth is that I fell in love with the room. It is spacious with a double bed, hard wood floors, one wall is only a built in closet and it has a window onto the street. I spent some time talking to one of the boys living there; he will be leaving before I get there, but it was good to get some honest opinions about the flat. We are looking for completely opposite things as evidenced by our conversation and I am looking forward to settling down in an apartment. The best part is the new neighborhood. It is not the center of town but it is a five minute walk from either pool and the retiro park. All around my apartment are little shops that sell fresh fruit, chicken, fish, and the like. For someone like me who loves to cook this is a dream come true. After finalizing the deposit, I quickly went home to get a bite to eat before heading to class to give my final presentation for my Methods Class. I was the second of three to present, and I believe that it went rather well. I had a lot of questions towards the end about the indigenous peoples’ ability to understand spanish symbols and was impressed by my own ability to draw upon my knowledge from Harvard to give coherent answers. After class finished, Ana, Carlos and I went out for chocolate at their favorite chocolate shop near Sol. The store is called Valor and it is chocolate made in Spain. I had the Aztec pot which is thick warmed chocolate with a little kick to it. Quite a delicious treat after giving a presentation and it was nice to hang out with my friends from my courses and hear about their different memories connected to this part of the city.
Even if this was all that happened this week, it would have been one of the most active week’s that I have had thus far. However, we are not quite done. Friday I was invited to a concert given by Carlos’s cousin who is a pianist. I rushed to meet Ana, Carlos, and his family, after practice. I got the official introduction to his entire family, grandparents included. The concert was absolutely fantastic. He played Schumann’s sonnet to his lover Clara and many other romanticist pieces. From my seat I could not necessarily see his hands move across the keys, but I could see the reflections of the keys on the hood of the piano. Music is such a part of our lives, we hear it in stores while shopping, we play it while cooking or doing work, it consumes us in many ways. To watch someone who has studied each not to figure out the best way of presenting a composer’s works reminds me of the passion that music holds.
This momentous week ended with a great Saturday morning practice. We had light core and group exercises before swimming and then got to our main work. I will not bore you with all of the sets, but the main set was a 400 all out and then 4 x 100 holding 5 seconds off your goal two hundred two times through. It was a grueling set, but I am very proud of how I attacked it and what I accomplished. I left the pool utterly exhausted, from swimming and from the long week. To finish off the day, Stefan has a couple of friends here from Rotterdam and so I got to hang out with all of them last night as the perfect end to my week.
Now as it is Sunday, it is the day of cleaning and trying out some new recipe that I have found. This morning I worked on incorporating the questions from my talk and making the grammar better in my Methods paper, but in all I try to keep Sundays as relaxed as possible and always love having the free time to try out the more complicated recipes. It has been a hectic week, but I believe that all of these little accomplishments will help propel me towards a great spring. Here’s to the upcoming week and all the adventures it holds!